Conservative Bill aims to ‘overhaul’ justice system

Jamie Greene’s proposed Victims Law would make a number of changes, including abolishing the not proven verdict.

Conservative Bill aims to ‘overhaul’ justice system iStock
The Bill would allow all victims of crime to make a victim statement in court.

The Scottish Conservatives have opened a consultation on a Bill which aims to “overhaul” the Scottish justice system.

Jamie Greene’s proposed Victims Law would make a number of changes, including abolishing the not proven verdict and allowing all victims of crime to make a victim statement in court.

The Bill would also implement “Michelle’s Law”, a series of measures which give victims a greater say when criminals are considered for release.

It is named after Michelle Stewart, a 17-year-old who was murdered in 2008.

Another element of the Bill would give authorities the ability to deny a murderer release from prison if they refuse to disclose the location of the victim’s body.

This is known as Suzanne’s Law – named after Suzanne Pilley, who is believed to have been buried in a remote part of Argyll after her murder by David Gilroy.

The Tories also want to reform the Fatal Accident Inquiries system to ensure families get answers in a timely manner.

Greene, the party’s justice spokesman, said: “I am delighted to launch the consultation for this Bill, which could make a huge difference to the lives of victims and their families.

“This is one of the most ambitious proposals for an opposition Bill ever.

“It would fundamentally overhaul Scotland’s justice system and fix serious flaws that cause a great deal of pain for victims of crime.

“Far too often, the SNP’s soft-touch justice system lets criminals away lightly.

“This detailed and sensible Bill would change that and instead put victims first.”

He continued: “Scottish Conservative proposals for a Victims Law would create a stronger justice system that puts victims at its heart.

“I urge stakeholders to participate in my consultation and I urge politicians from all parties to rally behind it.”